Websites are the face of the Internet. How they look and function reflects the state of a brand’s online existence.
The look of a site — the colors, images, fonts, and the design’s overall look — makes an impression on the user’s eye. Visuals lure users to a site, and then functionality makes the site successful or unsuccessful.
Lets take a look at some top web design trends happening in 2015.
1. This is the year that mobile takes over design.
As responsive web design increasingly becomes the norm, we are going to notice a heavy focus on mobile-style elements showing up on our desktops. Some of the most visited websites, such as Facebook.com and Apple.com, already have more mobile users than desktop users, and with speedy adoption rate of larger mobile screen sizes, we are rapidly approaching the tipping point for nearly all websites. Smartphones are here to stay, so is the mobile web.
Over the past few years, I feel like many designers have been patching existing websites to work on smaller screen sizes to quickly please clients. I anticipate that 2015 will be seen as the year this changes, when mobile-first design becomes the norm. Studies show that 85 percent of adults think that a mobile website should be as good or better than their desktop website.
- Americans spend an average of 2.5 hours per day on mobile devices.
- 57 percent of consumers will not recommend a company with a website that looks bad on a mobile device.
- According to a survey by Google, 48 percent of users said that if a site didn’t work well on their smart-phone, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business.
- Mobile accounts for 60 percent of total digital media time spent by Americans
2. Increased use of interactive scrolling and parallax.
The average attention span of an adult online is eight seconds. The use of interactive scrolling and parallax helps the user stay focused and engaged with your website.
What is interactive scrolling? It’s a technique that offers clean and fluid navigation, giving the designer the ability to create a linear narrative within a site. Users are able to navigate, discover and explore without ever leaving the page, just by scrolling. Parallax scrolling involves the background moving at a slower rate to the foreground, creating a 3D effect as you scroll down the page. Parallax is a fantastic technique for visually engaging the user by using layers of images to create a 3D effect.
Different uses of parallax in websites include creating an engaging three-dimensional timeline, building an interactive path that leads the user to a call-to-action or giving otherwise flat design a multidimensional look.
Even though internet speeds have been increasingly faster, one major downfall of long, one-page sites is the heavy load time. The introduction of infinite scrolling cut downs on web site loading times by allowing the website to load content little by little and removing the clunky, traditional pagination systems that slow a user’s navigation to new and different site content.
3. The new minimalism + the power of images.
Clean, simple layouts provide a pleasant user experience, guiding visitors along a path towards an action. Since the average attention span of adults is so limited (eight seconds!), it is key to grab their attention immediately and keep them engaged. Emphasis on layout is key. Cleaning out clutter brings forward the goal of the website and allows for easy navigation.
Users do not want to be bogged down with cluttered websites. The ability to quickly communicate your brand is very important. Having content that is concise and scannable equates to better usability.
About 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and, according to KISSmetrics, 40 percent of people respond better to visual information rather than plain text. That being said, the designers should let the imagery tell the story.
The use of high-quality images are nothing new, but people are becoming more aware of “real” imagery versus stock. The use of custom photography allows visitors to get a real sense of what to expect from your brand. Images can convey feelings better and more simply than almost any other digital medium. Emotions like sadness, joy, pity and delight can be felt in images that are difficult to capture in copy.
4. Large backgrounds + full-screen video.
The traditional image carousel received a facelift over the last few years. Images have gotten bigger, became more vibrant, and are no longer restricted to a container. This is due to faster internet speeds and larger devices with retina displays, progressing in design circles to full-screen background images instead of small carousels.
Designers have gone one step further to visually attract users by adding cinematography to their full-screen backgrounds. Video has been around a while, but it was often clunky and poorly executed within a design. Now, with increased bandwidth and the use of modern browsers, new opportunities are emerging. Video is a wonderful way to create a quick connection and tell your story.
5. Longer scrolling sites.
With the continued increase of mobile usage and web visitors scrolling 76 percent past the fold, people are looking for a consistent browsing experience across every device.
With the growing number of touch screens, scrolling is becoming more natural than clicking. Users do not want to be bothered by hunting and pecking through the site to find their information. Incorporating longer scrolling pages helps to unify a user’s experience.
What design trends are you seeing in 2015? Leave a note in the Comments section or tweet us @QuinlanCompany today.